Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother! On this Sunday before the Feast of Our Lord’s Holy Nativity we come to the Fourth Sunday in Advent. This grace-filled season, now coming to a close, has been a time when the darkness has increased around us, but in which we have held fast to that True Light of the World, a Light which no darkness will ever extinguish. And now our hope is fulfilled for Our Lord is with us and even in nature we see today the return of the sun. From this day forward the days will grow brighter and longer.
For our meditation of today I would like to point to our Beloved Father and lord, St. Joseph. Before time had begun, God chose St. Joseph to be the Guardian of the Redeemer. It was to St. Joseph that God committed the safety of His Only Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. And although St. Joseph was not physically the father of Our Lord who was born of the Ever-Virgin Mary, nonetheless he was a father to him in every way but the physical. The way Our Lord spoke, the way He would plane the wood, the way He made a cupboard, all reflected St. Joseph’s influence.
It was St. Joseph who brought Our Lady to Bethlehem in fulfillment of the ancient prophecies that the Messiah would be born there. Not one word of St. Joseph’s has been recorded, but we know that just as He protected the Holy Family, so will He protect us. He is our intercessor in all things both supernatural and natural.
At this Holy Time, then, may I wish you a very Holy, Happy, Blessed, and Merry Christmas. This is my first Christmas at St. Paul’s and therefore the happiest of my life. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to all of you for receiving me so warmly and with so much affection and kindness. May God reward you for all your goodness both to me and to St. Paul’s.
Please be sure to save the Christmas schedule so that we may all make our Christmas confession. You will notice there are many hours for confession and it is my fond hope that very many will confess so that we may greet the Christ Child in humility and love.
Please consult the bulletin for the times of the Christmas Masses. We are very grateful to a family of our parish who have offered for God’s glory and for the uplifting of our souls orchestral music for the 5.30PM Mass on Christmas Eve. I had heard that it had been a custom at St. Paul’s that on Christmas at St. Paul’s there would be orchestral music. We are very grateful for this kind and generous gift and there will be a string quartet at the 5.30PM Mass.
May I ask all of you to receive Our Lord on Christmas with the purity, humility, the love and devotion with which His most Holy Mother received Him, with the spirit and the fervor of the saints.
For that is precisely why Our Lord came to this earth as an infant, not to judge and condemn, but to love and be loved. He has come to earth so that we may go to heaven. And He calls each and every one of us to be saints. Now is the fullness of time and let us embrace the Holy Infant and hold Him so dearly. May He never depart from us.
Nos cum prole pia,
Benedicat Virgo Maria!
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda